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HR Matters // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results
TALENT MAXIMIZER Vol 10, Issue 1 - January 2013

Happy New Year! It seems like yesterday that I was wishing all of you a happy and profitable 2012. Every day that passes by is a missed opportunity. That's why I recommend you commit to at least one or two of the tips that I'm offering for a productive New Year. Move those forward a mile and you'll be years ahead of the competition. I'm here to help you commit and stay on track.

Lots in store for 2013. We are changing the look of our website to make it easier for you to access the information that you need. We'll also be rolling out new programs to help you dramatically increase your market leadership and profitability. I'll be traveling around the country more as I share proven strategies on how to maximize talent. Upcoming speaking events include the Boston Chamber of Commerce and The New England Food Show and Pizza Expo. Give us a call if your organization or association is in need of a dynamic speaker.

I'm also introducing brief, valuable, weekly tips on how to increase profitability through talent maximization. There are 52 tips in total to cover every week of the year. Those of you receiving this newsletter will automatically receive these tips, which are guaranteed to turn traditional beliefs upside down. Feel free to share these with others you believe would profit from these tips. If at any time you decide you no longer would like to receive this, you can simply unsubscribe by clicking on the link.

Here's to a profitable and amazing New Year, and if I can be of help to you, call me at 413-582-1840.

5 Tips for a Productive and Profitable New Year

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson

How you begin the New Year will dictate exactly how profitable your business will be this year. So why not start out strong? Here are five tips to start your New Year off right.

1. Focus on employee retention. If you do only one thing differently this year, it should be this. Companies are wasting millions of dollars every year on talent acquisition, when instead they should be focusing on the retention of their top people. In conducting research for my forthcoming book, The Magnetic Workplace, I interviewed dozens of magnetic CEOs and executives who shared their proven strategies for engaging the minds and the hearts of their employees.

What they all had in common was their never-ending commitment to employee satisfaction. Notice how I didn't say customer satisfaction. That's because they know that it's impossible to have high levels of customer satisfaction, and therefore repeat business, with a workforce that is even slightly disengaged.

Here's what I mean by this. I experience happiness every time I stay at a Kimpton Hotel. Everyone at the hotel treats me like I'm a royal guest. I'm given the keys to the minibar and never receive a bill. I'm upgraded (at least it feels that way to me) to a room that's larger than many suites that I've had at other hotels. I'm truly welcomed. I asked President and COO Niki Leondakis of Kimpton Hotels why I'm treated better at a Kimpton than anywhere else. Here's what she said. "Without employees, a hotel is nothing more than a building with rooms". She went on to explain how Kimpton has very low employee turnover. "We hire great people and we trust that they will do the right things when it comes to taking care of our customers." Kimpton employees feel good about their work and the way they are treated. Can you say the same about your employees?

2. Pay for results. If your HR team has convinced you that it would be unfair to give a high performer a raise because they've only been with your firm for several months, or they've told you that for legal reasons it's best to wait until everyone is reviewed prior to rewarding a particular group of people, then it's time to fire your team.

Companies spend so much time covering their butts that they often forget why they have these policies in place. Last time I checked, it was to reward specific performance. However, over the years it has become more and more apparent that most reward systems aren't working.

Dare to be different. Reward those who are doing a great job and let the others quit or show them the door yourself. Doing so will make room for you to hire those who are much more productive.

3. Trust your people. Every day I see examples of companies that don't trust their people to do the right thing. They've buried these people in so many layers that it may very well be the spring of 2020 before we ever see or hear from them again.

It's been about a month now since my husband and I made our first call to Sears regarding an item under warranty. I won't bore you with the details, but what I can tell you is that we've had parts shipped to our house twice, and three service calls of about two hours a piece to repair a dehumidifier that retails for $199. Seriously folks, wouldn't it have been less expensive and better for the customer if Sears had simply replaced the machine? I'd like to tell you this story has a happy ending, but last we heard, our "dedicated customer service rep" Justin, was somewhere in the bowels of the organization researching a part that is no longer made, and we are still without a dehumidifier.

4. Shed the excess weight. I'm not talking about the extra layer that may be hanging around your waistline, although it's probably a good idea to vow to get healthier this year. I'm specifically talking about the people in your organization who should have been let go a long time ago.

Here's an example that may be near and dear to many of you. I was at a gala event in Atlanta where I was talking with Subway Founder Fred DeLuca when another CEO joined our conversation. This CEO was proudly sharing with us how low employee turnover was in his company. He then confessed that there happened to be one area where this was not so. He followed up by saying that he knew the problem was the manager and that eventually he had to do something about it.

Let's make today the day that you deal with matters that are weighing down your organization. You don't have to go it alone. Feel free to call me for a lifeline.

5. Go after the best; leave the rest. There is no reason that you can't have a top-notch team. I'm guessing most of you know who the top performers are in your industry. Now is the time to start building a relationship with these people so that you can eventually get them to consider switching teams. Now before you tell me this is unethical, I would ask you to consider the following. If their employer was doing such a hot job of focusing on employee retention, these people wouldn't even consider talking to you. Which brings me back to point number one.

© 2013 Matuson Consulting. All rights reserved.

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About Roberta Matuson

For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies and small to medium-size businesses create exceptional workplaces leading to extraordinary results. As a seasoned consultant, Roberta is considered a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty.

She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around and is a highly sought after speaker, consultant and executive coach.

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© 2013 Matuson Consulting. All Rights Reserved.